Atwood BBQ owners bring family recipes to Juneteenth

Atwood BBQ owners bring family recipes to Juneteenth

MILWAUKEE — Donteah and April Morehouse opened Atwood Highway BBQ in South Milwaukee in March of this year. The origins of how they cook their food go all the way back to Milan, Tennessee.

“I started holding farmers’ markets and we started when COVID hit,” says Donteah. “Everything was a bit closed. We did everything we could and I think the ultimate plan was to always have a barbecue shop and be able to show everything we wanted to do.”

Donteah showed us a brisket he had smoked for 12 hours. He takes great pride in his work, and the name of his restaurant reflects that.

“Atwood Highway is where it all started… We were cotton and pig farmers before I was born,” he says.

The decor in the restaurant is a call back to that family farm – with red walls to match their barn and oak chairs to remind you of the oak trees that line the property.

Donteah’s grandfather bought the property in 1900.

“So he came out of slavery to 76 acres. He represented what it meant to be free in that country,” says Donteah. “They had the cotton field, they were busy with pigs, [as] gravediggers. They started barbecuing on the land where they would dig a hole in the ground and smoke pigs there before there were pits to use.”

Such memories mean that Juneteenth is important to the Morehouses.

“We’re going to give it to them. The beast is now being prepared — she’s getting a new axle, a new roof, a new sign,” Donteah says. “She’s going to make her first annual debut on Juneteenth this year.”

The Morehouses plan rib tips, ribs, pork skins, and more.

“We’re going to put some smoke in the air, Atwood style. We’re going to try and get it to them. The beast will be ready,” said Donteah.

And he says good food brings people together.

“We bring the food there, we try to educate them and make them understand what our culture is and have them come to Juneteenth and let them experience different portions,” says Donteah. “Not just our story, there are probably 300 tents that have a different story than us.”

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